Geoengineering climate solution said risky

June 6, 2012 at 6:32 PM
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MUNICH, Germany, June 6 (UPI) -- A geoengineering solution to climate change could lead to significant rainfall reduction in Europe and North America, a team of European scientists said.

Researchers said they analyzed models of how Earth would respond to a geoengineered artificial reduction in the amount of sunlight reaching the planet's surface in a warm, CO2-rich world and found such efforts could result in undesirable effects.

Geoengineering techniques to reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching Earth's surface include mimicking the effects of large volcanic eruptions by releasing sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere and deploying giant mirrors in space.

The researchers say their models suggest such geoengineering efforts could lead rainfall to decrease by about 15 percent of pre-industrial precipitation values in large areas of North America and northern Eurasia.

"Climate engineering cannot be seen as a substitute for a policy pathway of mitigating climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions," the researchers wrote in Earth System Dynamics, a journal of the European Geosciences Union.

"The impacts of these changes are yet to be addressed, but the main message is that the climate produced by geoengineering is different to any earlier climate even if the global mean temperature of an earlier climate might be reproduced," researcher Hauke Schmidt at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Germany said.

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